Finish Strong

img793I love to start anything – a craft project, a book (reading or writing), a job. I have so much enthusiasm and so many plans! It’s going to be the best ever. And it is, until it isn’t.

Somewhere along the way the newness wears off. It’s hard to say exactly when because it’s different for each project, book, etc. Most of the time it isn’t even a conscious thought on my part. I just wake up one day and realize I don’t find the same joy in doing what I was doing. I would much rather start something else. Or a project is stalled for one reason or another and I couldn’t just sit idle so I started something else with every intention of going back to the first project.

That’s why it took over 10 years to finish one king-sized afghan. I couldn’t very well work on it in the summer, it would be too hot. I couldn’t take it with me to work on when I was visiting someone because it was too big. I couldn’t work on it most of the time because I just started hating the colors I chose.

10 years! No project should ever take that long. I probably would have never finished it except a few years ago I got tired of hauling it out every winter and buckled down and decided I wasn’t allowed to start anything new until I finished it.

I worked on that blanket every day for months. I even had to go back to the store a few times to buy more yarn. The blanket really is massive, but it’s the warmest blanket I own and will last forever.

More importantly I was able to say I finished it. It gave me such a sense of accomplishment. It gave me motivation to find all my other half-finished craft projects and over the past few years I was able to finish them too.

It wasn’t easy. I quickly realized why I had put the projects down in the first place, but I was determined to finish them. And I did. One by one, working at them a little every day. Soon I was even able to see real progress and remember why I started them in the first place.

It wasn’t only to create something, but also to relieve stress and anxiety. There is something very calming about being able to sit and work with your hands, even if it’s only an hour or so a day. I’ve also found that all those hours add up after a while, especially when I’m writing.

But the greatest part about finishing all those projects was the sense of freedom it gave me. I no longer had them hanging over my head. The guilt went away about procrastinating and not finishing them. I was able to start new projects with giddy abandonment and really enjoy the rush of excitement as long as it lasted.

But now I know that finishing a project is much more important than starting it. To have something tangible to hold up as proof of all my hard work. No one can take that away from me, ever. Nor can they take away the confidence each finished project gives to me go out and try something new.

So if you’re in the middle of something and don’t know if you even want to finish it, I say keep working, even if it’s only an hour a day. You spend more time than that on Facebook every day. Just a little perspective :). It will be worth it, I promise.

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